by Max Brantley
Chuck Banks, the attorney for Lu Hardin, filed his pleading yesterday in federal court asking for leniency in sentencing Sept. 26 for Hardin, the former University of Central Arkansas president who has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a bonus scheme he worked out in part to cover gambling debts.
Here's the complete filing. From it:
The following factors are presented for the Court’s consideration in granting a probationary or alternative sentence, not as an excuse for Hardin’s behavior, but so that the Court can see the true man. These factors include: (1) Hardin’s acceptance of responsibility, extreme remorse and post-offense rehabilitation; (2) Hardin’s lifetime of service to the public and charitable organizations; (3) Hardin’s almost immediate payment of full restitution; (4) Hardin’s cooperation and other punishments already suffered because of the offense; and (5) Hardin’s recovering gambling addition.
So the question for readers: Has Hardin been punished enough by the public embarrassment and job and professional losses he's experienced?
The complete filing is worth reading. It contains a biography (left fielder on a championship American Legion baseball team); has excerpts from many of the letters written in his behalf (son Scott Hardin: " ... the most honest man I have ever met. He has always been quick to call penalties on himself on the golf course, teaching me it is the only way to play the game…."), and it addresses the gambling that helped land him in court.
As explained in several of the letters of support provided to the Court, Lu Hardin has lived a life that has been a positive influence on others. He has been in an unquestioned faithful marriage for more than thirty years and he does not drink, smoke, or curse.
Approximately twelve years ago while on vacation, Hardin and his wife first played legal slot machines. He has never participated in any illegal gambling and in fact did not participate in any other form of legal gambling such as wagering on cards, dice, horses, or sporting events. His sole endeavor was slot machines which are known to be one of the most addictive forms of gambling. Although he was very financially stable when he began playing slot machines, what began as small stakes entertainment elevated to playing high stakes slot machines resulting in significant losses.
Hardin’s prior financial responsibility had him debt free at age 39 including owning a home in Russellville, Arkansas that was completely paid for. However, Hardin progressed from solid financial responsibility to deep debt. Lu Hardin took great pains accompanied with significant personal anguish to keep his legal wagering and the accompanying losses from his church, his friends, his board, other professionals, and any associated with the public except his wife.
Last year Hardin recognized he truly had an issue and has been attending Gamblers Anonymous since that date. He has been working the program, has a sponsor, and has not gambled in any shape, form, or fashion. Hardin has been proactive in his rehabilitation from gambling addiction and is ready to move forward with his life never entering a casino again.